Sweet Saturday Sample and a Chance to Win a Kindle Fire

A tiny bit from The Toymaker.

“I don’t understand. Did he give a reason for sending his regrets?” Helen sat with her embroidery hoop in her lap, a frown setting deep lines across her forehead.

Near the window, Charles folded a letter, holding it in one hand and tapping the missive against his other palm. “I read you the letter, Helen.” His voice was laced with irritation. “A matter has arisen that requires his personal attention, so Greenbriar shall not be joining us for tea after all.”

Greenbriar! Just the name on her father’s tongue made Ivy’s teeth hurt.

“Here’s Ivy,” murmured Helen, looking up. “Ivy, dear, might you have run afoul of the Duke of Greenbriar during your traveling about?”

“How exactly might I have run afoul of him, Mother? I’d have to encounter him at some point to do that, wouldn’t I?” As much as she wanted to snatch the letter from her father’s fingers, Ivy forced herself to a sedate walk across the carpet. Smiling, she parked herself on the green couch. “Why? Is something amiss?”

With one hand, Helen clutched at her lacy collar as though to loosen it. “Well it’s only he’s cancelled tea rather suddenly today, you see. Since you’d planned to be about, it would have been a wonderful time for him to have met you.” She leaned forward, pinning Ivy with a stare. “You’re quite certain you’ve not said or done anything?”

“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Helen.” Jasper tucked the letter into the pocket inside his waistcoat. “Greenbriar has an estate to attend to. I imagine unexpected matters arise for him from time to time the same as they do for the rest of us.” He stalked to the doorway. “If you ask me, his inability to attend will only spare our carpet a repeat of his last visit.”

Ivy’s gaze strayed to the nearly invisible pale gold mark on the red and white carpet near her feet. She’d arrived home after the duke’s last visit to find two of the upstairs maids frantically scrubbing at pieces of apple tart that had been smashed into the plush floor covering. The thought of His Graceless stumbling about, dropping bits of food onto the floor only strengthened the notion that she wanted nothing to do with the man.

<><><>Thank you for visiting!<><><>Read on below to the previous post to find out how YOU can win a Kindle Fire!

Super Spies Halloween Party! You Might Win a Kindle Fire!

Hello Everyone! Welcome! I’m one of your hostesses for the Super Spies Halloween Party! We’re giving away a KINDLE FIRE by playing a game called “Bobbing for Books” and here’s how you enter to win!

The first way to enter is by tweeting and Facebook sharing (tag me when you do!) about the event and posting the tweet or share in the comment section below. Each tweet or share counts as one entry. So, the more tweets you do the more entries you have. :)

The second way to enter is by purchasing one of the participating authors books and posting the title and confirmation code in a comment below. This purchase counts as two entries, so if a contestant buys two books, they are entered four times in the giveaway. :)

The winner will be announced on October 30th via e-mail and also by post on Facebook and Twitter. :)

****Please be aware that the KINDLE FIRE will be gifted from Amazon and sent directly from there. Therefore, if the winner receives a damaged prize, myself and the participating authors are not held liable for any damages. The winner must work with Amazon to get a replacement.

Now let the tweeting and sharing begin! Good luck to all of you! This is going to be a fun party! And please scroll down and check out all the books! There’s something here for everyone! Romance, Young Adult, and even self help! All good clean reads! :)

Here are the participating authors books and buy links and if you don’t see something interesting here stop by their blog and check out their other books! :)

“Abiding Echoes” By Kay Springsteen

Love is family…
Love is endless…
Love is timeless…
Love is abiding…

Amazon
Barnes and Noble

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“The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer”  By Lisa Orchard

An innocent game of Truth or Dare spins out of control when Sarah Cole discovers the dead body of the Cat Lady and what’s worse? The lead detective believes they’re responsible for the old woman’s death. Sarah realizes it’s up to The Super Spies to snare the Cat Lady Killer…or die trying.. A great Halloween read!

Astraea Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
More Lisa Orchard

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“Hauntings of the Heart” By Joselyn Vaughn

When lost love shows up on your doorstep, what do you do?  Minnie Schultz slams the door in his face.  With the help of some paranormal investigators, an Elvis impersonator and a couple of nosy friends, can Minnie and Gordon find the future they were meant to have?

Astraea Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Find more of Joselyn’s books here: http://joselynvaughn.com

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“Vala Appointed” By J. F. Jenkins

Identical twins Anj and Zes Willam have always been considered odd, even in a world where myth is real. Their magic is powerful and intense, as well as their secrets. None more so than Anj, who has the biggest secret of them all.

Barnes and Noble
Amazon

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“Double Crossing” By Meg Mims

August, 1869: Lily Granville is stunned by her father’s murder. Only one other person knows about a valuable California gold mine deed — both are now missing. Lily heads west on the newly opened transcontinental railroad, determined to track the killer. She soon realizes she is no longer the hunter but the prey. As things progress from bad to worse, Lily is uncertain who to trust—the China-bound missionary who wants to marry her, or the wandering Texan who offers to protect her … for a price. Will Lily survive the journey and unexpected betrayal?

Astraea Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble 

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“Cruel Justice” By Mel Comley

The headless body of a wealthy widow is discovered decomposing in Chelling Forest. Detective Inspector Lorne Simpkins and her partner, DS Pete Childs are assigned to the case. A few days later another victim, this time a young girl, is discovered. Who could the killer be and what’s the connection between the two victims?

Amazon/ US
Amazon/UK
More about Mel’s books

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“Moonlight on the Palms” By Lisa Greer

When professor Astrid Kent’s estranged mother dies, she returns to her childhood home of La Casa De La Luz to set things right. But secrets, murder, and her mother’s ex-husband—Astrid’s former fiance before she fled Texas in shame—threaten to entangle her at every turn, even as another man vies for her heart.

Amazon
Astraea Press
Barnes and Noble
More about Lisa’s books

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“Prepare to Receive More” By Benecia Ponder

A Step-by-Step Guide to Forming Your Prosperity Partnership with God.
Amazon

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“The Trouble with Charlie” By Catherine Bennett

Love. Desire. A psycho bent on revenge. But can Charlie Reynolds recognize the most dangerous of the three?

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Astraea Press 

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“At What Cost” By J. Andersen

When sixteen year old Maggie Reynolds discovers she’s pregnant at the beginning of Junior year, she’s scared to death to tell her parents for fear of what they’ll do. Luckily, her boyfriend suggests another alternative: abortion, but will it really solve all her problems like she hopes it will?

Amazon
Barnes and Noble 
Astraea Press

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“The Legacy” By Patricia Kiyono

A family finds and embraces its samurai heritage. The Legacy introduces the Tanaka family, whose story begins in The Samurai’s Garden, available beginning November 6 from your favorite ebook distributor!

Patricia Kiyono on Amazon

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“The Last Time Keepers” By Sharon Ledwith

When Amanda Sault and her four classmates are caught in a major food fight at school, they are given the choice of suspension or yard duty. It was a no-brainer. A two-week crash course in landscaping leads the kids to discover a weathered stone arch buried in an overgrown backyard. Instead of a forgotten lawn ornament, it turns out to be an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Musa Publishing
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
:

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“There your Heart will be Also” By Felicia Rogers

The Renaissance Hearts Series – Begin the adventure with Sarra and Cedric.

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Astraea Press

More about Felicia and her books

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“A Collie Rescue” By Lindsay Downs

Former Army Sergeant Sandi Charleston, diagnosed with PTSD and homeless barely survives day to day. By a miracle of fate she meets Taz, a uniquely special collie, who helps turn her life around.

Astraea Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble 

Find more of Lindsay Downs

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“A New Dream” By Elaine Cantrell

Former NFL player Matt McCallum and baker Violet Emerson find a common dream for their lives, but a loose end from Matt’s past returns to jeopardize their future. Will love be enough to save their new dream before it turns into a nightmare?

Astraea Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

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“Psychic” By John Warnock

What if you awoke one day and discovered you had ESP? Would you feel blessed? Or would you feel cursed?

Amazon
Barnes and Noble 

Find more of John’s books

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“Secrets of Catalpa Hall” By Lori Lapekes

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Astraea Press

Find more of Lori’s books

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“No Job for a Woman” By Sherry Gloag

Circumstances demand Julian and Deborah learn to work together and Julian dares to dream that he might gain the love of the only person he’s ever given his heart to. But will Deborah live long enough to discover that by releasing everything she values, she will gain everything her heart desires?

Amazon 
Barnes and Noble 

For more about Sherry’s books

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“Crossing the Deep” By Kelly Martin

Sixteen year old Rachel Harker expects the hiking trip in the mountains to be short and painless. Four days later, injured and scared, she just prays to make it home alive.

Astraea Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

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“Persephone” By Kaitlin Bevins

There are worse things than death, worse people too.

The “talk” was bad enough, but how many teens get told that they’re a goddess? When her mom tells her, Persephone is sure her mother has lost her mind. It isn’t until Boreas, the god of winter, tries to abduct her that she realizes her mother was telling the truth. Hades rescues her, and in order to safely bring Persephone to the Underworld he marks her as his bride. But Boreas will stop at nothing to get Persephone. Despite her growing feelings for Hades, Persephone wants to return to the living realm. Persephone must find a way to defeat Boreas and reclaim her life.

Amazon
Barnes and Noble

More about Kaitlin’s books

The Toymaker on Sweet Saturday Samples

Part of the upcoming Twelve Dukes of Christmas release from Astraea Press:

“Good morning, dear,” greeted Ivy’s mother from her seat at the breakfast table. Weak sunlight filtered through lace curtains and played on the ivory muslin of Helen’s morning dress. With deliberate movements, she sipped her cup of chocolate, then set the cup back into the saucer with barely a clink and centered her attention on Ivy. “Are you planning to go somewhere?”

“I have a meeting with the vicar today, Mother. To make arrangements for Christmas for some of the local families.” Ivy drew a deep breath. When her mother only stared at her, she continued. “I’m quite certain I mentioned it last night.” Which was more than her mother had done with regard to the mysterious guest for tea.

Helen dabbed her lips with a napkin and pushed back from the table. She touched the lacy mop cap on her head as though to reassure herself the silly thing was still in place. “Oh yes, I remember now. Is it possible to send your regrets to Vicar Wexley?”

Irritation flashed, raising heat in Ivy’s cheeks, but she suppressed a churlish urge. “But, Mother, I told you of my plans last evening in the parlor.”

A soft sigh escaped Helen’s lips. “Yes, yes, I suppose you did. You know how your father was going on so about our trip to Bath. In any case, we’ve a caller arriving this afternoon.”

Quite unbidden, a quiver of apprehension traveled along Ivy’s skin. “Not… er, is Lord Roland paying another call?” Please say no.

Helen tilted her head to the side, a sweet smile pulling at her lips. “Would you like me to arrange for Lord Roland to call again?”

“Oh, no!” Ivy reined in the panic that bounded like stampeding horses through her veins. “That is, I don’t believe that will be necessary. He and I… didn’t find ourselves to have much in common after all.”

“Oh, Ivy.” With a soft sigh, Helen seemed to deflate where she sat. “You two seemed to get on so well at our last dinner party… Every time I glanced up, you had your heads together talking.”

Ivy forced a smile onto her stiff lips. “Yes, well, one of us was speaking at any rate.” And speaking, and speaking, and speaking. “Lord Roland has much to say.” And all about himself.

Helen raised an eyebrow. “You certainly seemed to enjoy the conversation over dinner. I heard you laughing.”

“Really, Mother, I had no idea you were watching me so closely all evening.” Ivy barely managed to avoid squirming under Helen’s current scrutiny. “I was simply being polite to one of our guests.”

Helen sighed and lifted her cup of chocolate from the saucer. “Well, the Earl of Norcross seems like a nice young gentleman. I would be happy to extend another invitation for him to dine with us. Surely you can find something about him you don’t object to.” She set the cup to her lips and sipped.

It didn’t seem like such a difficult request. Or it wouldn’t have been had Ivy’s mind been at all functional. She started to shake her head when a thought occurred to her. “Well, I don’t particularly object to his absence.”

“Ivy!” A frown marred her mother’s face. “That’s incredibly rude.”

The ire Ivy had managed to hold in check suddenly rose to the fore. “For heaven’s sake, Mother! Why can’t you understand that I do not wish to see Lord Roland as a suitor? I don’t wish to see him in any capacity. Gracious, the man’s teeth clicked and clacked like Spanish castanets with every bite of his dinner!”

Helen’s jaw slackened and fell open. She blinked once and then closed her mouth with an audible sharp snap.

Ivy’s feet seemed to sink into the plush Persian rug, as though the floor had just become a bog filled with family responsibility and the pressures of finding a match her parents would approve of.

“Mother…” She softened her voice, all too aware that it now bordered on a wheedling tone that made her sound like a whining child. “I know you worry that I’ll wind up a spinster—”

“Pish. I’m worried about no such thing.” Helen dabbed at her lips with a linen napkin. “I just want to see you secure and… happy.”

Like your sister, Laurel. The words, though unspoken, nonetheless hung between them.

“I am happy, Mama.” Ivy smiled. But it was time to be gently firm.

“Then you—”

“But…” She held up a hand to forestall the inevitable request for her to receive whomever was calling later. “I’ve had this engagement planned with the vicar for a week. He and his wife are assisting me with locating which families need a bit to tide them over through the holidays.” She offered her best wistful sigh. “Perhaps you might offer my apologies to your guest, and I shall visit with her the next time she calls.”

“Oh but—” Helen pressed her lips together. Finally, she shook her head. “Very well. And perhaps you’ll find your business doesn’t take as long as you seem to be anticipating.” She glanced beyond Ivy toward the door as though hoping someone would walk through.

Oh, it would take as long and more if Ivy had any say in the matter. She smiled again. “By the way, whom are you expecting, Mother?”

“Hmm?”

“Your guest?” Ivy raised an eyebrow. “Who is it?”

“Oh, it’s… the Duke of Greenbriar…” she trailed off in a whisper.

Sudden dizziness fell about Ivy like a cloak and she swayed. Only by clutching the back of the fine oak chair in front of her did she manage to remain standing. So… it had come to that. Her parents must be out of suitors if they were resorting to that one.

She drew a deep breath aware that her smile had just frozen on her lips. “How lovely, Mother. I certainly shall hurry to complete my task so I can return home and greet his grace.”

Helen angled a rather odd look in Ivy’s direction. No time to consider why. Ivy backed from the room. “I’ll, er… I’ll hurry my trip, Mother.”

She left without giving Helen a chance to respond. Surely the devil would be waiting outside the door, ready to carry her off for the lie she’d just told.

<><><>

Hmmm, Ivy sounds a little too picky, doesn’t she??? If you want to check out my work, find me on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. For more sweet treats and more samples, return to Sweet Saturday Samples. Have a great week!

Christmas in October!

I got this truly amazing letter last night. The sender had just finished Operation: Christmas Hearts and loved it. It makes my heart absolutely sing to know that something I wrote touched someone. So, since Christmas is fast approaching, I thought I would share an excerpt from that book.

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They reached the table. Bella handed Ashley a crispy treat. “Can you—get me
some—juice?”
Ashley plucked up a plastic cup filled with grape juice and handed it to Bella,
and then chose one for herself. When she turned around, Mrs. Eastman had moved off
to talk to Mr. Kellogg. With a chuckle and a gentle shake of her head, Ashley sipped her
drink.
“Do you think—everyone will—like their presents?” Bella pushed up her glasses.
The door to the gym was opened from the outside.
“I’m very cer— Oh, look, Bella!”
Trish stepped into the room in obvious seeking mode, probably looking for her
daughter, who was at the moment, racing toward her. Trish’s eyes scanned the crowd,
landing on Ashley just as Bella ran into her at top speed. But Trish absently smoothed
Bella’s hair and kept her gaze locked with Ashley’s as she crossed the room.
“No,” whispered Ashley, denying her heart’s request to push itself into her
throat. She shook her head as Trish drew closer. Ashley’s fingers slackened and her
drink tumbled to the floor. It landed with a plop, splashing cold liquid over Ashley’s
ankles, then bounced a couple of times. “Don’t, please,” she begged her friend.
Trish’s voice was kind but firm. “Ash, let’s go outside.”
“Mama? Is—Daddy okay?” asked Bella, clinging to her mother’s arm with both
hands.
“Daddy’s fine, baby. He’ll be home later.” As Trish spoke, her eyes never left
Ashley.
Tears formed a gushing river that coursed over Ashley’s face and no amount of
lip biting would stop the flow. “Please no,” she said over and over as Trish took her by
the hand and led her out.
“Bella, come sit at the table with your class,” suggested Estelle Eastman. She held
out her hand and amazingly, the little girl accepted it. As numb as Ashley was, part of
her had the sense to be grateful Bella wouldn’t be subjected to Trish’s news.
By the time they stepped through the heavy double doors into the nearly
deserted hallway beyond, Ashley was trembling so hard she could barely stand. Trish
led her to the teachers’ lounge directly next door to the gymnasium and pushed her
down onto a well-­‐‑worn green vinyl sofa.
“Okay, I’ve been talking to Dan all afternoon. He’s trying to find out more—“
“Is Nick dead?” blurted Ashley, unable to stand any further delay. Her heart
already thumped in a broken rhythm and she knew waiting any longer for the news
would only shred her nerves along with her soul.
“They don’t know,” said Trish in a crisp tone. At least she’d switched into direct
speaking mode. “I can’t tell you the details because I don’t know much. I can tell you
what Dan was allowed to tell me. They were on a mission, embedded with another unit.
Command got a radio message that they were taking heavy fire, and then contact was
lost.”
“They’re going to look for them, right?” Ashley demanded. “They won’t be just
left out—out there!”
Trish closed her eyes, as though to center her focus. When she opened them
again, she was calm and firm. “I don’t know any details. I only know enough to be
concerned.”
“Dan?” Trish must have gotten the information from him.
But Trish held out empty hands and shook her head. “If he knows anything
more than what I’ve just told you, he can’t say. He would have told me if the situation
were otherwise.”
Which of course meant her old friend could know something because of his
position as an intelligence analyst…or he could know nothing at all except that Nick’s
unit might be in trouble.
Helplessness wasn’t something Ashley was used to feeling. Someone had to
know something. Oh, why did Nick have to be on the other side of the world? Why did
she have to fall in love with the man? It should have been a three-­‐‑date blitz of fun and
then friendship. “But why—how could Danny tell you if it’s secret?” she pressed.
Trish leveled a long, silent stare at Ashley, which said it all. Dan probably knew
more, a lot more, but he’d taken a huge risk and somehow conveyed the knowledge to
his wife that their friend was in trouble.
“Oh, Trish…” Ashley’s voice broke as she dropped her shaky façade of bravado
and buried her face in her hands. “What am I going to do? I love him.”
The sobs took on their own power. Gently, Trish touched Ashley’s shoulder then
pulled Ashley against her and stroked her hair, murmuring soft words that she barely
registered.
“I feel like I waited my whole life for someone like Nick. I can’t lose him now.”
Ashley slid from Trish’s embrace. It wasn’t the touch she craved, the touch she was
certain she’d die without, and rather than providing comfort, it only served to frustrate.
“I never told him, you know. The only time I said the words, he probably didn’t hear
me. How hard is it to tell someone you love him?”
“He’s okay,” said Trish, her voice stronger now and unusually vehement, as
though she was trying to convince herself.
“You just said you didn’t know anything,” whispered Ashley. She hated it when
people tried to bolster morale with empty platitudes and promises they had no right to
make.
“I said they don’t know,” corrected Trish, standing and pacing. Her next words
were much quieter. “I believe he’s going to come home. You’ll see. He’ll come home
and whe—”
“Don’t!” snapped Ashley. She continued in a whisper. “Don’t say the word.”
Trish frowned in confusion. “What word?”
“When,” Ashley forced the utterance past the constriction in her throat. “We
don’t use that word.”
“That’s just superstition and you know it, Ash.” Trish stopped her back-­‐‑and-­‐‑
forth strides, and parked her arms across her chest. “When he comes home, you two’ll
sort everything out and it’ll all be okay.”
“You married Dan after he got stationed here.” Ashley blinked back the tears,
trying to hold back the resentment that bubbled in a cauldron of her emotions. “You
didn’t have to wait for him, not knowing if he was okay, or where he was. Not knowing
if he would come home, but knowing every moment he’s away from you, his life is in
danger.”
“Maybe not like you’re having to do,” said Trish more quietly now. “But I
understand about knowing someone you love is in danger. I know a little girl can be
lost in a hurricane and a blind man can find her. Miracles do happen, Ashley.” Tears
streamed down Trish’s face. “They happen every day. But if you don’t believe in them,
they’ll happen right in front of your eyes and you’ll never see them.”
Ashley’s mouth fell open and she stared at her friend, catching a rare glimpse of
the pain Trish seldom allowed anyone else to see.
“I’m sorry,” whispered Ashley. “I wasn’t thinking.”
At the soft knock on the door, they both looked up to see Mrs. Minton making
her way in, with Bella directly behind her.
“I’m sorry,” murmured Bella’s teacher. “The rest of the children have all left and
I need to get going myself.”
Ashley looked up at the clock on the wall. Had they really been sitting in the
lounge for over an hour? Quickly, she dried her face. Nothing could be done about eyes
that were undoubtedly red and swollen but Bella didn’t need to see the tears.
In a move that was purely Bella, though, the little girl pushed into Ashley’s arms
and gave her a big hug. “Nick will be—okay,” she whispered, as though imparting a
great secret.
Ashley jerked and glanced up at Trish and Mrs. Minton. Had they told Bella
what was going on? But the teacher was staring in disbelief, and Trish only offered a
nearly imperceptible shrug.
“I think he will be, too, Bellie-­‐‑Sea-­‐‑Shellie.” Ashley gave the little girl a hard hug,
wishing she believed her own words.
Bella eased out of the hug and placed her chubby hands on Ashley’s cheeks,
gazing directly into her eyes. “He has a—angel with him.”
“Not now, Bella.” Trish’s voice was a little sharp.
Ashley glanced at her friend and sent her a smile. “It’s okay, Trish. I kind of like
the idea that Nick has a guardian angel.”
Bella glared at her mother. “Angels—are here.”
Mrs. Minton gave a nervous laugh and turned to Trish. “She’s been talking about
angels for a couple of weeks now. I thought it was something she heard at home.”
Trish shook her head. “I don’t know where she picked it up, but she’s certainly
been full of angels.” She laid her hand on Bella’s shoulder. “Let’s take Aunt Ashley
home with us.”
In the process of crossing the lounge to the door, Ashley balked. She just wasn’t
up to doing the happy family thing. “Actually, Trish, I just want to go to my place. If
you—if Danny hears—” She couldn’t finish, had to rely on her friend’s understanding
of her unspoken words.
Fortunately, Trish did understand. She touched Ashley on the shoulder. “You
just have to keep believing. I promise you miracles happen and you’re going to get
one…you and Nick.” She continued in a whisper. “If you don’t have faith for Nick, who
will?”
Ashley said nothing. What was left to say when her friend had said it all? But
what if her faith wasn’t enough?

……………….

From a fan (connection like this is a reason I write):

Hi Ms. Springsteen,

I just finished “Operation: Christmas Hearts”, and I wanted to write and tell you what an awesome writer you are. I usually read supernatural books, yet somehow I came across “Heartsight” and read it. You know, it was supernatural, because it was pure magic, as are the rest of your books I’ve read. 5-stars on Amazon.And I’ve picked up the rest of your books for my Kindle. In all 3 books, I knew exactly how they would end, and that was just fine, because the whole journey there was amazing. You just create incredible characters who are so real. And yeah, Bella is too cool for words.
Thanks for writing your books.

BTW, my grandmother who raised me and who left 15 years ago was an angel. Her name was Estelle also.

Best,
 S
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Find me on Amazon! Or on Barnes & Noble!